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US Navy says new task force to patrol Red Sea amid Yemen war

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DUBAI, United Arab Emirates -- The U.S. Navy said Wednesday it will begin a new task force with allied countries to patrol the Red Sea after a series of attacks attributed to Yemen's Houthi rebels in a waterway that's essential to global trade.

Vice Adm. Brad Cooper, who oversees the Navy's Mideast-based 5th Fleet, declined four times to directly name the Iran-backed Houthis in his remarks to journalists announcing the task force. However, the Houthis have launched explosive-laden drone boats and mines into the waters of the Red Sea, which runs from Egypt's Suez Canal in the north, down through the narrow Bab el-Mandeb Strait in the south that separates Africa from the Arabian Peninsula.

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